LitCity312 Review: The Book Cellar

The Book Cellar (New Books)
4736 N Lincoln Ave #1 Chicago, IL 60625
Lincoln Square neighborhood
Mon. Wed. Thur. Fri. Sat: 10am – 10pm Tue. Sun: Noon – 6pm
773-293-2665 / Email:


Location + Feel
The Book Cellar is situated in a cool, little crevice within the heart of Lincoln Square. Halloween decorations embellish the store during the October season, like black cat printouts hanging along the opening of a doorway that leads into the seating area, skeletons sitting above bookshelves and miniature-sized pumpkins adorn each table. The nicely smooth wooden ground parallels the calm atmosphere of the store, overall. Several small love seat couches are stuffed in corners as a means to sit, if even for a moment, to read a story and bask in the words. As far as the seating area and live literary area, it is quite decently sized with an array of silver chairs and tables. Adjacent to this is a bar and café where customers may order a vast array of wine, sandwiches, salads, and all kinds of cookies. Along the immediate wall near the display of magazines are full bottles of wine for sale as well, while a single, idle television rests at the forefront of the magazine wall (ironically enough, considering the setting). Behind the check-out counter, a BOOK CELLAR WINE CELLAR BOOKS sign hangs in huge block letters while enlarged posters of some front cover novels also hang in parallel. Through certain points in the store, there is dim lighting and bright spotlights, depending on the point of reference. In the immediate portion of the store, there are several red love seats behind the front window, where readers are able to bask in a slightly more intimate setting because it is slightly quieter: a tiny abyss.

Book Display
As a whole, the books here are all sparklingly new and fresh and untouched, meaning that they all mostly have a clean slate! Particularly enjoyable are the sticker signs that read “The Book Cellar Recommends…” along various shelving units within the aisles, if one is having trouble deciding what simply looks good or what is worth spending time on. Best of all, these little indiscreet notes share a personal, handwritten note from one of the staff regarding why this book or that book is awesome. In addition, there are “Danielle…[or so-and-so]…is currently reading…” notes meant to showcase what others may be interested during that particular time and if that may interest you as well. With a special aisle filled with colorful children’s books and the general trajectory of fiction and non-fiction books, anthologies, and poetry chapbooks, the “Staff Pix” section of the store is also worth a visit in order to have a kind of implied dialogue with members of the staff regarding their particular interests and how those views may or may not align with yours!

Parting Thoughts
The Book Cellar truly reminds of a wine cellar of sorts, as far as its size, but …it comes with an array of books! What could be more awesome and vintage and literary than that?

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Amanda Hanna

Amanda Hanna earned her Bachelor's Degree in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing, from DePaul University in June 2014. She plans to pursue her MA in Writing & Publishing, from DePaul, beginning in the fall of 2015. She was born in Chicago, but has lived in a variety of places throughout Southern California, such as Riverside, Orange County, and San Diego. Post high school, she attended a nineteen-day trip to Europe and visited Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, England, and France. On her free time, Amanda loves to draw and paint, attend symphonies and plays, peruse museums, visit farmers' markets, and, of course, read and write. One of her favorite collections of short stories is J.D. Salinger’s, 'Nine Stories'.

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